Philly Papers' Redesign Gets Some Brotherly Love

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Brian P. Tierney, the new owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, is planning a redesign of the papers with advertising and creative experts at the helm, and an overwhelming 79% of voters in an Advertising Age online poll said it's a smart move.

Many voters said changes like this are exactly what newspapers need to recapture audiences and attract advertisers who are wandering to new media. Jeff Trent, president, Bilboardz Indoor Advertising Media, said dailies have no choice but to explore new options. "It's a changing landscape for the dailies: Adapt, die or get swallowed up by someone larger," he said.

Some say Mr. Tierney's plan doesn't hinder the separation of church and state, because the ad creatives will be behind the design of the paper, not the content. "It has nothing to do with separation of church and state," maintained Paul S. Gumbinner, president, Gumbinner Co. "It has to do with good business and good design."

Lourdes Prado, project director at Encuesta, said Mr. Tierney will have to draw the line between input on design and input on content for the plan to work. "As long as Strawberry Frog and Modernista aren't involved in the news, analysis, or opinions that the papers print, Mr. Tierney will still be on the right side of ethical journalism," Ms. Prado said.

But for some, even that is too close for comfort. Tom Egly, director-marketing and business development for TGD Communications, said: "Editorials should never cross the line into advertising or even give the impression that it might."

What you say: 79% of voters said it's a good idea for ad professionals to redesign a newspaper; fresh ideas and new approaches are just what the ailing industry needs. But 21% say it's a dangerous precedent that breaches the church/state divide between ad and editorial.
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